I like this second book even more than the first one. There is more action and intrigues in this second installment of Elena's story.
I really enjoyed Bonnie: both her personality and her powers. Damon brings a lot to the story. He is so mysterious, and you can't help but go back and forth between loving him and hating him. I have to say though that all of the secrets bother me in this book, probably more today than it did when I first read the book a couple years ago. Things would be so much easier if characters didn't keep everything to themselves, you know! I thought the characters were well written, and felt like true teenagers.
The Struggle surprised me. After completing The Awakening I had an inkling of a feeling that these books would get better and they did. I'm still only giving The Struggle two stars as it had a lot of issues (most of which being Elena and plot), but it also had a lot of heart. The characters became a little more fleshed out, and the plot a littl
e more straightforward. At times I still wanted to pull my hair out in frustration, but not nearly as often as I did while reading the Awakening.
*BELOW IS A LIST OF WHAT I LIKED AND DIDN'T - SPOILERS MAY BE INCLUDED*
Once more I liked L.J Smith's writing style quite a bit. Her books are easy to read, a guilty pleasure so to speak. The scene in which Damon came to pre-Thanksgiving dinner was hilarious. I was seriously in stitches when Elena threw her little sisters cat at him and everyone just looked at her in appalled shock. I could picture it very clearly in my head which is something that I like when reading a book. The ending scene was also very well done. The chapter in Bonnie's perspective was very well written - I felt Bonnie's disconnect as she watched Meredith and Stefan try to save Elena. It broke my heart.
The plot was once more ridiculous, but at least something actually happened this time. Unlike The Awakening which was a very slow and tedious buildup to this novel, the plot actually progressed. The game of cat-and-mouse that Elena and Damon engaged in was often times funny and often times absurd. Damon just wedging his way into Elena's life through the people around her was often times unrealistic, and if I had to listen to Elena comment one more time about Damon's good looks I was going to scream. So as much as I liked the anti-hero persona Damon adopted in this novel and some of the banter he and Elena shared, the objectifying and vain-ness of the two of them together was often too much. Also, the whole plot line of Caroline stealing Elena's diary to implicate Stefan of the old man's murder under the bridge to only have Damon save the day at the last minute was perhaps the most ridiculous part. Elena is slowly succumbing to a centuries old vampire who wants her as his "Queen of Darkness", but half the time she's more concerned about her diary and Stefan's potential social undoing. Her worry was consistently put in the wrong place.
The ending, however, was well done. That cliffhanger was quite intense, and I will admit that I enjoyed reading Elena's outburst at the end. Her confronting her aunt and Robert didn't seem out of place, rather it showed another side of Elena. She bottles everything up to protect those that she loves, but because she doesn't tell them anything to keep them safe she can't properly warn them of the danger that they face. Her outburst was the realest, deepest emotion that I think I've seen her face so far. Anyone with that much pressure on them would snap, and I'm glad that Elena did.
As for the characters, Stefan and Elena were still very in your face and angsty. At least this time they were a mostly united front despite them barely sharing any dialogue like in The Awakening. I found Stefan less annoying this time. Instead of all brooding and dark, he showed a lot more vulnerability. The scene where he asks Elena to marry him was a turning point for me. Despite knowing that Elena loves him he is still vulnerable enough to think that she won't want him or the future he can offer her. It broke my heart to see how Stefan's self-confidence is actually quite low considering he is a centuries old vampire. I also liked the moments of friendship that Stefan and Matt shared, it was quite touching.
Matt was once again my absolute favourite character. This boy is an angel. Matt puts up with a lot of crap, but he never asks any questions because he trusts his friends. He lets Stefan borrow his car (and accompanies him) to go to the middle of know where to get vervain for Elena and just accepts Stefan's strange reasoning to do so. At the end he gives Elena his car to use, and even requests to go with her because he can see how upset she is. Matt is kind of like the equivalent of Teen Wolf's Stiles in these books. He's the human companion trying to survive in a supernatural world where he has no powers but his love for his friends - only in Matt's case, he doesn't know the world that he's stumbled into. I could honestly write a 20 page essay about why Matt Honeycutt is the most selfless, caring, and honest character of the Vampire Diaries books. I just love him.
Bonnie and Meredith were a bit more fleshed out in this book. Bonnie's psychic powers came to the forefront near the end of the novel as she was the one who knew that Elena was in danger and sensed the bad Power looming over them at the bridge. Bonnie's strength also shone through as Stefan entrusted her to care for Meredith even though, as Bonnie remarks, it is always the other way around. Also, as a pre-established Bamon shipper, I couldn't help myself from enjoying the small interactions that Bonnie and Damon shared. I also enjoyed the further develop of Bonnie, Meredith, and Elena's friendship - they really are willing to face anything together. They're a united front even though there are many secrets between them. Their love for each other, in my opinion, is very selfless and unconditional. It's great.
Not much more about Meredith is revealed, but L.J Smith hinted as some problems in the girls home life. I found that, like Bonnie, her strength was really revealed at the bridge in the end of the book. Meredith being there with Stefan trying to save Elena's life and holding him back from continuing CPR, and before that stopping Tyler Smallwood and his gang from hurting Stefan showed her unwavering support for her friends. Meredith loves Elena and because of that she loves Stefan too and is willing to be there for him.
Overall, The Struggle was much better than The Awakening. It still had it's flaws, but a lot of the flaws from The Awakening were corrected and touched upon. Stefan and Elena still had me rolling my eyes at their copious amounts of angst, but at the same time I found a lot more moments where I could connect with them and sympathise with them. Heck, at one point I even found myself truly liking Elena's character even though I couldn't stand her in book one. I've already started reading The Fury, and I plan to read the other books as well. I truly think they'll get better and I'm once again willing to read them and see for myself.
Guest 4 years agoY’all need a book about the originals.
Guest 4 years agoIon like it.
Guest 5 years agoI recommed vampire academy. It is good.
Guest 5 years agoIt was okay ;)
Guest 5 years agohate this book